Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another year, my dear

It's my birthday today and I'm not quite sure how to feel about it. Maybe it will just be like today's weather: sunny periods and occasional showers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dear Universe, please kill SOPA and PIPA

SOPA and PIPA are like taking a sledgehammer to your fine china. No really, it is. If you want to break your china it’s better just to throw it on the floor. No need to hit with a sledgehammer.

I don’t agree with pirating per se but we have to look at why it’s happening before we try to stop it. Massive marketing campaigns mean that we want to see every movie out there, for example, but there’s no way we can afford to so if you want to keep up to date you have to cheat.

Personally I don’t think Tom Cruise should get $30M per movie, he’s not that good an actor, and while I believe people who make movies should earn a decent living (if they make a decent movie) I also think that we’re being duped into thinking that the industry is hard done by.

It’s the small budget movie makers that are hard done by but isn’t it the larger movie makers responsibility to keep them afloat and not the public who don’t earn anywhere near the amounts the movie studios have to play with? They have to stop making their industry less about making money and more about art before they get all huffy and puffy about the pirating issue I think. (And this is why capitalism as it is today sucks, my friends…)

So as much as I don’t agree with pirating per se I also don’t agree that we need to pay $20 to see a movie, $30 for a movie on DVD or $30 for a music CD.

SOPA and PIPA are scary. You do realize that your blog is at risk, right? If you have ever put a little image on your blog and you “borrowed” from somewhere else and that somewhere else  happens to be American, Google, in my case, runs the risk of having to take Blogger down. That’s how bad it is.

I can’t help but think that SOPA and PIPA are trying to tackle the problem of pirating from the wrong side. If large corporations came to, shall we say, a more reasonable agreement when it comes to pricing and how they distribute their wealth then I think we would be getting somewhere but as it stands right now:


Dear Universe,
Please kill SOPA and PIPA before it kills the internet and the relative freedom we have through it to express ourselves and connect with others. Please do that and please make it your priority. Thank you!

Yours truly,
Spilling Ink

P.S.
I have a plan for this afternoon’s meeting with HR and the department head and I’m gonna go in, I’m gonna come out and nobody will get hurt. I would really appreciate some help with that too, Universe. Thanks again!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Inspiration

"Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself. I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things that I aspired to becoming."
Anthony Robbins


I stumbled across this today and it describes precisely what I'm in the process of doing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

For a brief moment I forgot

For a brief moment, you know like three or four years, I forgot who the hell I was. Not who I am but who I was.

I was safe.

I was sure of myself.

I was secure.

I was full of hope.

I was powerful.

Granted I've not been any of that in decades so it's easy to forget but it's time to remember. It's time to remember!

I come from good Viking stock and Vikings are not easily beaten. People who sail oceans in wooden dinghies don't fear emotional waves, they surf them with reckless abandon because that's the only way to go!

Everything drifts to shore eventually. My job right now is not to swim. It's to float! My job is to bob along until I get thrown up on a sandy shore somewhere and that sandy shore is precisely the right place for me to be when that happens.

I don't lose faith! How can I lose faith when I have me? What was I thinking? I'm here to look after me and I'm not powerless.

My thoughts are...wait for it...my thoughts! Since they're my thoughts I can change them. I own the copyright. I don't have to ask permission.

How I feel is how I feel because I choose to feel how I feel. I'm going to start choosing to feel a little different now. I'm going to choose a better state. I think that will be nicer and we will take it slow this feeling better so that I don't lose my way and get overwhelmed.

Did I tell you guys I love you lately? No? Well I do.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Creative burnout

It’s high time, high time, to get serious about my shit! I say this with my best nigger impersonation voice and with nigger I mean nigger as in how African Americans say it to each other to show that they’re brothers and not the very derogative way whites say it to African American in the south of the US of A. Or did. We stamped out all that KKK crap, didn’t we?

When you’ve just had to come to terms with the fact that you’re burnt out you need to speak to yourself with a voice full of conviction. I think it deserves James Brown kind of voice that don’t mess about and bother about political correctness. Maybe it even needs a bit of a preacher touch to it.

If I’ve offended anyone I apologize. It’s not my aim to offend. My aim is to make a point which I quite clearly can’t do.

If you think having a nervous breakdown is hitting rock bottom you’re wrong. There’s actually something beyond that and while it’s not quite as stressful it’s still bloody awful. It’s the burnt out state and it’s a state that brings you from stress to powerless and apathetic.

To be honest I prefer this state. It’s not nearly as disruptive. The reason for why it’s not disruptive is that you stop caring and you feel completely powerless. It’s like that last stage in the grieving process when you’ve come to accept that someone is gone and they’re not coming back and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.

Only when you’re burnt out you can come back. You can get your mojo back. That’s the truth.

I’ve ended up doing a life review. The past few weeks have been awful and not so much because of outside influences but because of the depression. It has brought me to new lows and I’ve had to medicate at full dose again just to get to a state where I can concentrate on anything else but the depression.

I don’t like being medicated but I like the state I was in a lot less. There are times when we have to rely on medication to get by. Lesson number one.

Lesson number two is that we have to admit we have a problem.

Lesson number three is to ask for help.

I have to revisit lessons number two and three again. I have a problem and I need help.

This is an important time for me. Inadvertently I have been forced into doing a life review. Who am I? What am I really compared to what I have been lead to believe I am by others? How have others opinions of me influenced me and forced me to be what I’m really not? Who are my parents? Why did they treat me the way they did when I was growing up? How did they show me that they love me? How did what they are influence me? Who were their parents? How did they love my parents?

Etcetera.

The conclusion at its core is that I’m not a bad person and there’s nothing seriously wrong with me that I will need to change. Except for the depression. I need to change the depression state into a state where I’m more comfortable. It’s pretty big shit, and I use that word on purpose because it seems to fit the best, to be able to become comfortable with oneself in the throes of depression. I feel better about myself than I have in ages. I don’t have anything left to prove because I’m good as gold already.

“because I’m good as gold already” < Words I thought I would never hear myself say. It’s a huge step for me!

I’m lucky enough to be left with only having to deal with being burnt out and depressed as a result of that.

I think there are four stages of burn out.

The first one is exhaustion. You may still be holding it together but you’re not doing well. You come home and head for the fridge and grab whatever is in there, maybe self-medicate with alcohol and TV, and become comatose as soon as you stop moving. Normally you pride yourself on doing your job right but now you’re looking for shortcuts and that erodes your self-esteem because it makes you feel guilty.

The second one is shame and doubt. You’re asked to take on more and normally would jump at the opportunity but there’s a voice inside that screams “What? More?!” and you’re not feeling confident about the future, you’re dreading it and you’re even discounting your past accomplishments. You’re feeling like you’re an imposter. You start sighing heavily, the way people sigh when they’re grieving or feel completely powerless! You’re experiencing a profound sense of vulnerability and powerlessness.

The third stage is when you bring out the armour and you become cynical and callous. Look out for number one. Cover your butt. No one’s getting to you! You become short and obnoxious with other people and they start avoiding you, they don’t hassle you anymore. They’re all fuckers anyway.

The fourth stage is when your coping structure becomes unglued. It’s about failure, hopelessness and crisis. You’re one little step from the psych ward, my dear. What you’ve been doing is like trying to run a marathon at full speed the whole race through. Your mental apparatus is wearing out and the reason for why this stage is so disruptive is that your psychological defences have worn down. Painful memories and old hurts surface. Any bump can set off an overly sensitive reaction.

Burn out is not for wimps. Most people pike out long before getting to burn out. They give up, leave their jobs or families and try to start anew somewhere else. Getting to stage four requires determination. It requires a strong sense of responsibility and rigid perfectionism. You have to think there’s only one way and stick to it. Usually the people who get to this stage are responsive to others and others lean on them for support and they’re the emotional sponge for others.

If you’re burnt out you’re going to need support. You may need professional help because you’re in crisis. You need to confront your denials, cynicism and your helplessness. You have to allow yourself to grieve past, present and even future losses so you can move onto turning guilt, hurt, anxiety and aggression into focused energy you can use to help yourself. You need to acquire new skills to create new options so you can develop productive attitudes and take productive actions, attitudes and actions that help you not fight you.

The trick is to become creative about your burn out and turn it into a transformational experience. This is the probably the best opportunity you’ll ever have to transform.

Recover.

Rejuvenate.

Heal.

Create.

Can I do it? Hell yeah! I didn’t even really hit stage three or four before I screamed for help! I’m just not stubborn enough to see it through ‘til the end.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I have a daughter, she's my daughter

I woke up this morning and I woke up reluctantly.

Yesterday I ate too much good food, realized that people aren't always fair no matter how old and wise they are and I followed it all up with talking to a friend.

The talk, if it can be called a talk because it was more a rant of observations, was fueled by a fair amount of Cointreau and the most evil Brie I have ever had the pleasure of meeting smeared on French bread. Brie like that is made to eat in anger because its creamy texture and taste goes a long way to distracting you and preventing you from picking up the phone to tell people you really think. What you really, really think.

The pleasure of meeting the Brie was last night and the displeasure of having met it is this morning. You can actually get hangover from cheese I have discovered. I discovered this when I encountered an extremely precious Stilton not long ago. It made love to my taste buds and ruined my ability to think straight for days.

In the words of Withnail in the movie Withnail and I, this morning I feel like a pig shat in my head and it's not all the Cointreau's fault. I think the Brie prevented the Cointreau to have any effect on me at all.

Children are precious. Children are also not already perfect beings and most likely they will never be. If they're lucky they grow up to be successful and if the rest of us are lucky they grow up to be nice, good people who treat us with respect, love and compassion.

Bee is a child. Bee is a child who is at the cusp of entering a pre-adult state during which confusion will reign supreme and more will be expected of her than she's possible of achieving or being capable of.

It's like that for most people at that stage in their lives.

Bee is beautiful and kind. Bee has ADD and finds it hard to sort things in her mind at times especially when met with multiple instructions that seem to contradict each other.

Bee spent most of the garden party organizing the other children, most of them younger than her, in play so that the rest of us, the adults, could eat, talk and relax. Bee was also accused of getting into a cupboard to get a large packet of chocolates she had been given at the beginning to take home that I suggested be put away because too much sugar will mean trouble for Bee. Bee wanted so desperately to be well behaved.

She was accused of getting said chocolates out of a cupboard to eat them and share them with the other kids. It turned out that he husband of the lady who had given them to her had taken them out of the cupboard to give the kids chocolates and of course Bee got a bit upset, they were her chocolates because they had been given to her, and when the lady accused her of having gone into the cupboard to get them herself she got extremely upset. The husband never said anything about him getting them out of the cupboard. Not so much as a murmur. He stood by and watched her get accused.

Being 13 is confusing. Being blamed for things you didn't do hurts a lot at that age. Trying to do your best, to make your mum proud only to be accused hurts so much that you break down. The mother's of the other children rallied, bless them, and thanked Bee for being so good with their kids but Bee was so extremely distressed because she had, in her own words, ruined the whole party.

I expected more from my hosts. They're in their seventies and really should know better. They know Bee has behavioral problems because of her ADD and instead of making allowances it was used against her in a way that was really unfair.

I'm angry. I'm very angry. The friend I talked to last night about it is the son of these people. He was disappointed too. How does one explain to a 13 year old that some people just suck?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Old and grumpy

It's been tiring. It's been very tiring. That's why I'm not going to talk about "it". I don't want to talk about "it".

I'm about to head out to a garden party and I don't feel like going. I don't feel like being around people today and that's a shame. Today is one of those days when I feel soooo less confident and like I don't want to do my hair. I want to hide.

I used to suffer from social anxiety except I didn't know it was social anxiety. I just thought I was awkward and retarded. This is a a bit different to how I used to be. I'm fully aware that as a person I stack up pretty well, I don't have any real traits that make people recoil in disgust,  but what I do have is low tolerance for prattle. I don't feel like prattling today even though I'm perfectly able to.

So I'm a sourpuss. I admit it. I've turned and old grump about 30-50 years too early and I'm not ashamed of it, not one iota, in fact I'm wearing it like a god damned badge.  There are days I feel like I've lived two lifetimes worth of "it", "it" being things that piss people off and that tends to make them old and grumpy perhaps even prematurely, like "it" has me, and that I have a god given right to feel a little at odds with how my life has, is and will pan out. The whole future thing is of course stil up in the air but it doesn't mean I have to shy away from being at odds with it!

Every time I whinge about "it" there's someone who's done it worse and that does nothing to improve my mood because now I'm not even allowed to feel sorry for myself without having some jerk "trying to cheer" me up with stories about how they or someone else did it tougher. That kind of different from being supportive. It's a kind of one-upmanship. It's just that I prefer supportive right now and I don't want to compare with others.

I get it! I'm not doing it harder than anyone else but I do feel grumpier about it now. Right now. I want easy breezy and I don't want to be told that life is not like that. There has to be times when that happens. Now would be a good time. I kind of feel I earned it. I kind of feel entitled. I have a sense of entitlement.


So it's with this mindset that I will social butterfly today. I don't think they are compatible, do you?

I will do my best not to roll my eyes when someone tells me ALL about their very interesting and high powered job and I will avoid alcohol. Alcohol is the truth serum and today isn't the day for truths. Today is the day for fake smile and.....*shudder*.....idle prattle.

And, I lied to my lawn mower guy and told him I didn't want to him to mow the lawn today because I'm not home today to pay him. He just busted me being home. I was hoping he would come later after I'd left. I'm not happy. He shouldn't have insisted on coming today. It's all his fault. I'm trying really hard not to feel bad. It's not my fault that's for sure.

I hate the sound of the lawn mower. It does nothing to improve my mood.

I still love you guys though. I can say that without being drunk.

Cherry Almond and White Chocolate Lime Tarts

Going to a garden party today and was talked into bringing a tart. I'm bringing two. I made these yesterday. Can't wait to taste them.

Cherry Almond Tart






Lime and White Chocolate Tart (with a chocolate base)




Blogger is always hateful when I try to upload photos. I will try to fix the line problem, maybe, at a later stage. You get the idea though, right?

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